AUSTIN, TX -- The No. 8 Texas Longhorns celebrated senior night at the Frank Erwin Center before hosting the TCU Horned Frogs for their second-to-last regular season game. Texas seniors Imani Boyette, Empress Davenport, Brady Sanders, and Celina Rodrigo all started the game for the Horns.
The game started off even, with Texas and TCU tied at 6-6 halfway through the first period. The Horned Frogs kept up with the No. 8 team for the duration of the period, even leading the majority of it. The back-and-forth quarter ended at 13-13.
Neither team gained a significant lead through the first portion of the second quarter, each basket by the Longhorns was countered with one by the Horned Frogs. Texas guard Brooke McCarty led the way establishing the first lead of the evening, putting up a three-pointer, followed by a steal and a lay-up to give the Horns a six-point lead.
TCU turned it around and cut the Longhorn lead back to one with three minutes to go in the period, but their defense couldn't hold on. Texas closed out the half on top 36-27.
McCarty ended the half leading the Horns with 10 points, followed by center Kelsey Lang and guards Ariel Atkins and Brianna Taylor, whom all contributed six.
"I just did what the team needed me to do, and I was just flowing off of everybody else, and when I was open they got me the ball, so it made it a lot easier," McCarty said of her performance.
Guard AJ Alix led the Horned Frogs in the half putting eight points on the board.
"Really proud of our team's effort and the toughness and focus that they showed," TCU head coach Raegan Pebley said following the game. The Horned Frogs were able to stay with Texas through the first period, but began to come up short in the second. "They got transition baskets off of our turnovers. And their defense picked up quite a bit."
Texas continued with the steep lead through the first portion of the third period, stretching it to 11 thanks to eight points by Boyette. The Horned Frogs didn't let the lead get to them, cutting it to six with four minutes to go. TCU guard Zahna Medley was crucial in the quarter, scoring 10 points to help cut the Longhorn lead. The comeback did not last long, as Texas ended the period 53-44.
The Longhorns continued their dominance through the beginning of the last quarter, increasing their lead to 13 points in the first three minutes. The Texas offense didn't deter; they held onto their steep lead through the remainder of the game. They closed it out on top of the Horned Frogs, 71-58.
"Just a little bit of a choppy game, but absolutely can't complain about a team that's 26 and 2 at this point," Longhorns head coach Karen Aston said following the win. "Really pleased that we gave ourselves an opportunity to go to Waco on Monday, and again everything is an opportunity at this point, but we have an opportunity to go play for a share of a conference championship."
Texas takes on the Baylor Bears in their last conference game on Monday in Waco. They're looking to even the score, as the Bears beat the Horns earlier this season in Austin to take the top spot in the Big 12.
McCarty ended the game still leading Texas with 16 points, followed by Boyette with 12.
"Brooke is like a lion in a mouse's body," Boyette said of her teammate following the game. "She does everything. She doesn't look as feisty as she really is, like she can score from anywhere on the floor. She's really, really quick, and she's gonna get after it. She thinks she's the biggest player out there, so she's gonna play like that all the time."
The win puts the Longhorns at 26-2 overall, and 15-2 in the Big 12, and TCU at 15-13 overall, and 7-10 in the Big 12. The Longhorns face Baylor on Monday to compete for a share of the Big 12 title.